Steve returned from his business trip Thursday night, and it’s a huge relief to no longer be a single parent to Dionne. But while he was gone, necessity led me to a Eureka moment.

Although Steve and I sometimes walk the dogs together, I also for years have enjoyed walking alone with them to my favorite coffeehouse for my morning caffeine fix. It’s about 10 minutes from our house, and I’ve taken both dogs because I simply haven’t been able to bear to leave Tucker behind. It would break his heart. But I’ve done it knowing it was not optimal, from a puppy-training perspective. Walking side by Tucker’s side, the puppies often harass him or bite his leash, and when they surge ahead, it’s harder to correct them than it is when I’m walking the pup alone.

This time, however, because of Becca’s recent reminder that the CCI pups must be accustomed to walk on either the right or the left side, it dawned on me that I could have Dionne on my right and Tucker on my left (something that never seemed possible before because I always walked both dogs on the left.)  To my astonishment, Dionne complied with this arrangement, never even attempting to circle around and molest him.

I’m thrilled by this turn of events. I feel like the three of us can go to coffee without breaking any training rules.

For all her occasional wildness and puppy mischief, Dionne continues to be the best walker we’ve EVER had.

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